We need more Black beauty professionals. Not just on our Instagram feeds or in our local salons, but everywhere — especially behind the scenes of movies, red carpet events, runway shows, and editorial shoots, where pop culture is synthesized. This isn't a new problem in the slightest, but the recent, consecutive deaths of multiple unarmed Black people and the subsequent Black Lives Matter uprising has forced us all to reckon with the lack of Black creatives in our beauty communities (and everywhere else).
Put shortly, The Black Fashion & Beauty Collective is a group of Black fashion stylists, hairstylists, and makeup artists who will work in partnership with various industry leaders to create diversity initiatives and foster careers for Black creatives.
"The BFB Collective plans to create initiatives in collaboration with others in the industry, including designers, fashion houses, production companies, and even those who just hold a deep appreciation for the artistry within fashion and beauty," a statement from the Collective reads. "These initiatives will focus on creating education and career advancement opportunities for aspiring creatives, developing industry diversification standards for brands and corporations, providing resources to support members with their professional goals, and fostering community engagement and support."
The creation of this organization is not a knee-jerk reaction to current events, by the way. Redway tells Allure that it's been in the works for quite some time. "We dreamt up this idea about a year and a half ago," she says. "We organized a small dinner to discuss how we can come together as artists in our industry to create change."
According to Redway, the current members of the Collective are still discussing specifics about longterm initiatives, but in the meantime, it has launched a Black Fashion and Beauty Relief Fund in partnership with My Block, My Hood, My City, an educational nonprofit for underprivileged youth in Chicago. "The goal is to provide support for businesses affected as a result of the high tension surrounding police brutality with a special focus on those not protected by their insurance companies or whose insurance claims were denied," the Collective says in a statement.
And that's only the start of it because the beauty and fashion industry have an absurdly long way to go when it comes to welcoming and showcasing Black creative talent. "When it comes to big jobs, we are often not in the conversation with publications, ad companies, or photographers unless they are shooting a black talent," Redway says. "We often are still even fighting to get on the jobs our clients are involved in."
Black beauty and fashion creatives, as Redway puts it, are rarely given the chance to show their skill level and, in turn, are not considered as talented as their white colleagues. "If we are not aligned with certain agencies, it's perceived that we are not capable of giving them the same refinement or creativity on set," she explains. "We would love to see that narrative change and for there to be a space for artists coming up after us to not have to experience similar struggles we have in the industry."
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Originally Appeared on Allure